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Sinéad O’Connor, ‘Theology’ (Koch)

As personally conflicted and complex as her hyperexpressive voice is pure, the Irish iconoclast flees pop celebrity again with this overly generous two-CD set of originals and covers about spirituality. The musically conservative, but more flattering, acoustic disc smooths out the stodgy biblical sentiments by focusing sympathetically on O’Connor’s croon, but the second record (with full-band versions of the same songs, save one) falters with a clunky combo of Celtic rock and leaden hip-hop rhythms that squashes the fragile, hook-free tunes. This reclusive talent doesn’t require reverent studio sheen to sound prayerful.